Getting a divorce is one of the most difficult processes people can go through and many people end up staying in an unhappy relationship because they do not want to face the stress of the divorce procedure. Before making any decisions about starting divorce proceedings, you should make sure you know what to expect and what the whole process involves.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost?
Firstly, divorces can be expensive and the total cost will depend on whether the divorce is contested or not. The average cost of a divorce petition can be anything from around £500 to £1,500, although if the other person does not contest the divorce, it can be done at the cheaper end of the cost spectrum.
If there are a lot of financial complications and assets to sort out then it can take longer and may need to go to court, which incurs further costs.
How to Start a Divorce
The couple must have been married for at least one year before they are able to apply for a divorce. To start divorce proceedings, one person presents a divorce petition which will require them to cite one of the five options available as a reason for the divorce.
Once the petition is filed, a response is required from the partner and provided that there is no contest, the petitioner can then obtain the Decree Nisi. 6 weeks after this, they can apply for the Decree Absolute.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
This can vary depending on how complicated the divorce is, for example, issues related to finances, children and property can take a while to resolve in the divorce. If both parties want to get the divorce done quickly and there are no issues to resolve, it can be quite quick but the average divorce takes between 4 and 6 months to get finalised.
Do We Have to Go to Court for the Divorce?
In many cases, a divorce can be completed entirely through solicitors without the requirement to go to court. However, if there are details that cannot be agreed upon, such as child custody arrangements, or how the finances are split, sometimes the only solution is to go to court and let the judge specify the details.
Going through the courts will cost more money, so it is in the couple’s best interests to try and reach an agreement.
The Five Grounds for Divorce
When you cite the reason for your divorce, you must choose from the following five options:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Two years’ separation with consent
- Five years’ separation without consent
With adultery petitions, the respondent will need to admit that they have committed adultery, so some people choose to cite unreasonable behaviour instead. For this type of petition, the petitioner should detail examples of the behaviour. Discussing the grounds for divorce before submitting the petition will usually help this process to go through more smoothly but it depends on whether the respondent agrees with the claims.
With consent from the respondent, if the parties have been separated for two years, the divorce can be granted on this basis. If the respondent does not provide consent, the couple must have been separated for five years to get their divorce granted under the five years’ separation without consent basis.
Getting a divorce is never a nice experience but it is often necessary when people are unhappy and want to make a new start with their life. Hopefully, this information will have given you a good idea of what is involved in the divorce procedure, if it is something you are considering.